Title page for ETD etd-04022007-161003

Type of Document Dissertation
Author LaPrairie, Kimberly Nichols
Author's Email Address kimazd@aol.com
URN etd-04022007-161003
Title Using Group Dynamics and Personality Characteristics to Form Learning Groups in High School Multimedia Courses
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Educational Leadership, Research & Counseling
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Janice Hinson Committee Chair
Eugene Kennedy Committee Member
Jerry Willis Committee Member
Yiping Lou Committee Member
Bhaba Sarker Dean's Representative
  • group learning
  • student grouping
  • Emergenetics
  • student leadership
Date of Defense 2007-02-15
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this study was to provide insights into Emergenetics® STEPTM personality profiling as a selection and placement strategy to enhance process and performance in high school learning groups. An explanatory case study was conducted in a private high school currently subscribing to the Emergenetics® STEPTM program. Emergenetics® STEPTM Profile results of students enrolled in the school’s six Multimedia Productions courses were analyzed as the basis for learning group construction. Key individual thinking preferences (Analytical, Structural, Social, Conceptual) identified by the STEPTM Profile was the main variable of analysis. One learning group from each of the six classes (n = 30) served as the unit of analysis.

Data were collected from learning group observations, student journals, project assessments, and student and teacher interviews. Results of the study indicated Emergenetics® personality profiling may be a useful approach for grouping students. In particular, grouping students in WEteam® combinations, where all Thinking Attributes are adequately represented, may produce stronger, more creative, and productive learning groups, as Emergenetics® theory suggests (The Browning Group International Inc., n.d.).

Groups where all Thinking Attributes were present also tended to adopt teamwork as their primary leadership style. The adoption of this participative leadership style, whether by an individual leader or through shared group leadership, appeared to generate a more successful and enjoyable group learning experience than other leadership styles. This is consistent with previous research (Chen & Lawson, 1996; French, Waas, Stright, & Baker, 1986; Mueller & Fleming, 2001; M.R. Myers & Slavin, 1990).

Factors possibly contributing to lower member participation were also identified. These factors included lack of or flawed prior relationships, adverse perception of group learning, and presence of specific levels of Behavioral Attributes. Specific levels of Behavioral Attributes associated with diminished participation included first-third Expressives, first-third Assertiveness, and third-third Flexibles. However, this should not be taken to imply people with these preferences would always participate less than those holding other levels of these Behavioral Attributes. Instead, these Behavioral Attributes offer insight into why some people in certain circumstances participate less in group work.

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